Art as Persuasion


INSTRUCTOR: Pioneer Winter



Course Description

Art as Persuasion fully online course focuses on the cultural and political appropriation of visual and performance art for the purposes of public conformity, propaganda, and dissent (1935-present day). Art, informed by the human experience, no matter its epoch, focus, or demographic, is wrought with dissension and counterpoint; and while scholars have learned to dig deeper and not allow insufficiency of findings to resolve into indifferent wrongness, they have also learned to not take the contradictions of our history too personally. There is no such thing as perspective-free history since those who write the history are themselves fallible. We will examine how ambitions of power and art were mutually influenced; what rebel vs. state-sponsored art can tell us about ruling regimes and power relations; how propaganda in art affected society and historical events; and how our own preconceptions and contemporary concerns about propaganda, media, and political manipulation color our own approach to recent history and current culture.

By the end of this course, students will learn:

  • You’ll have gained an understanding of the various filters and interconnected histories of visual and performance art in the socio-political sphere.
  • You will gain insight into the authority of visuals and artifacts, and their place in history, politics, and culture.
  • You will have examined the relationship between art, political power, and identity.
  • You will be able to explore and analyze different media and techniques of message dissemination through visual and verbal means in Western politics.